The Flower Kings


The Flower Kings is a Swedish progressive rock group. Formed in 1994 by veteran guitarist Roine Stolt as a touring band to support his solo album The Flower King, the band stayed together after the tour and have gone on to become one of the most prolific studio recording units in rock music of their era. In thirteen years they released nearly 18 hours of music spread over 11 albums. Their music is similar to early symphonic prog groups such as Yes, marked by sharp dynamic changes, polyrhythmics, heavy bass, vocal harmonies, abstract lyrics, and extended song lengths. Roine Stolt recorded also three albums with the supergroup Transatlantic, along with members of Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, and Marillion, in 2000, 2001, and 2009.


HISTORY


This Swedish group was born around 1994 as a power trio formed by Roine Stolt (Ex-Kaipa) on lead vocals, guitar, bass, and keyboards, Jaime Salazar (drums) and Hasse Fröberg on lead and backing vocals (ex-Samla Mammas Manna), with the participation of Hans Bruniusson on percussion and drums. This lineup worked with Stolt in his solo album The Flower King. They later added Roine's brother, Michael Stolt on bass and Tomas Bodin on keyboards for the supporting tour. Soon they decided to form a band using the name of the solo album, so The Flower Kings were born. Other contributors included Ulf Wallander on saxophone and Daniel Gildenlöw of Pain of Salvation on lead and backing vocals. Roine Stolt has written the vast majority of the material the band has recorded, with Tomas Bodin contributing most of the rest. The music is best described as symphonic prog rock, bearing a strong resemblance to the music of Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, and early Genesis, with jazz fusion and blues influences. The band's lyrics are almost uniformly positive and uplifting. As most Swedish bands the quality of their music and the musicianship of their members is impeccable. In 1995 they released their first album Back in the World of Adventures which impressed the critics.

Go west Judas

World of adventures


The next few years were prolific and they released Retropolis in 1996... 

Retropolis


The melting pot


...the double album Stardust We Are in 1997...

Circus Brimstone



...and the double album Flower Power in 1999, which contains one of the longest progressive rock tracks ever recorded, the eighteen-section, nearly 60-minute "Garden of dreams".

Garden of dreams: 5. Attack of the monster briefcase

Hudson river sirens call 1998


In 2000 bassist Michael Stolt left the band, he was replaced by Jonas Reingold and Space Revolver was released. The Rainmaker was released in 2001

I am the sun


Last minute on earth


In 2002, drummer Jaime Salazar left the band, he was replaced by Zoltan Csörsz and the band recorded the double album Unfold the Future. Zoltan Csörsz stayed with the band for the release of Adam & Eve (2004) and until the release of the double Paradox Hotel (2006), when he was replaced by Marcus Liliequist for this album. 

Room 111: 5. Pioneers of aviation

Drummer Csörsz returned for the 2007 album, The Sum of No Evil. He was subsequently replaced by Erik Hammarström in 2008, when Ola Heden, previously of bassist Reingold's side project Karmakanic, joined on guitar, vocals and keyboards. In November 2008, the band was the opening act of the Ecco Prog Fest in Moscow.

Flight 999 Brimstone Air

The Flower Kings' last album, Banks of Eden was released in 2012 and features new drummer Felix Lehrmann. Roine Stolt stated about the long break The Flower Kings took: "It was a very positive and productive break, as all comes down to inspiration and being creative. We were running out of steam around 2008 so it was crucial to take a break and recharge batteries. We were going on and on for years making new albums and playing tours and after a while we felt lost without a clue why we kept doing it. I think it is extremely important to make music for the right reason, and money, while important, shall not be the prime reason to go on". Roine Stolt also talked about the recordings of Banks of Eden: "We always record live in the studio nowadays, it gives the music more muscle and an organic elasticity in groove and dynamics that is sorely missing in many modern prog bands production when they use sequencer and build it up around drum-machines. We want it to be like a really good live recording, but of course the old vintage equipment help us to sound less digital and one dimensional".

Pandemonium

The Eden Talk (album promo video)


For those about to drown



DISCOGRAPHY
Studio Albums

Back in the World of Adventures (1995)
Retropolis (1996)
Stardust We Are (1997)
Flower Power (1999)
Space Revolver (2000)
The Rainmaker (2001)
Unfold the Future (2002)
Adam & Eve (2004)
Paradox Hotel (2006)
The Sum of No Evil (2007)
Banks of Eden (2012)



Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flower_Kings
http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=110